Author: Claire Boston
Into the Fire is the fourth book in The Texan Quartet, which makes me very sad. It only just occurred to me that with this book the series comes to a close, and I’m not ready for that.
The heroines of The Texan Quartet have been a group of four close girlfriends, as we have gotten to know them throughout the series we realise that they are a family of their own choosing; a family that grows a little with every book in the series.
Into The Fire is Piper’s story, she is the last of the single ladies still working extremely long hours while her friends find the balance and love it up. She is a journalist who has always been passionate about investigative journalism, the research and writing stories that highlight the issues to try and make a difference for those who need a voice.
Piper is ambitious, industrious and a lovely lady. She works ridiculous hours for The Houston Age where she is under appreciated and too community minded for the far from objective newspaper bosses. She is worked to the bone and then unceremoniously dumped when her work gets too hard hitting for the target audience of the paper.
Alongside her regular articles the last big assignment Piper worked on was a series of profiles on big names in Houston, one of which stood out for its inclusion. Taima Woods is the reclusive owner of 5-star restaurant The Wooden Spoon and he was included on the list simply because gaining an interview with him is extremely difficult so if Piper succeeded it would be a real notch in the paper’s belt.
Piper’s persistence and compassionate story pitching eventually gain her the interview. She dug up the ill-informed and incorrect article previously written about Mr Woods and is determined to set the record straight for him; he’s a Native American and doesn’t always receive objective journalism.
Into the Fire may just be my favourite of the quartet, and Piper might just have taken the lead for my favourite leading lady. She is driven but her passion is equaled by her compassion.
The storyline for Into The Fire is the biggest collision of two worlds, Taima is a Native American heavily involved in the conservation of his tribe and taking care of those living on the reservation. We are given an insight into the racism faced by those of his tribe and the hardships they face both living on and off the reservation.
I loved the insight into the tribe, the struggles they face and the work Tai was trying to do to better the lives of the next generation, helping give them options that were denied their elders. Piper may never experience the hardships the tribe has faced but her empathetic personality allows her to feel for them as she starts work on a native cookbook Tai has been thinking about putting together, she is also approached by his grandmother to chronicle the history of the tribe and collect stories from the elders. Piper is viewed with suspicion by the elders in the beginning, they have been through so much that it is difficult to trust a white person.
Piper stays out on the reservation while collecting stories and settles into the life and the routine quite well. She recognizes the issues and wants to make a difference, wants to make things better for the indigenous.
Boston tackles this issue head on and with compassion. She looks at racism as well as the challenges faced by the tribe to conserve their tribal heritage and make sure the younger generations have the opportunity to make something of their lives.
Tai is very closed off, he has also been the strong one carrying the weight of the tribe on his shoulders but also bottling up all of the things that he has been through. He never really let anyone in so he is more surprised than anyone when Piper gets under his skin, especially because of her career.
Piper feels an attraction to Tai but from the start he’s very cold to her and as she sees him in other situations it is clear that there is much more to him than meets the eye.
Their road is rocky and there are obstacles that are hard for outsiders to understand but this story arc was one of my favourites.
Into The Fire is an interesting read that has two very different worlds colliding. It is romantic and heart-warming with some serious moments of heartbreak and a sometimes confronting look at life on a Native American reservation – even if this reservation is completely fictional.
I am sad for the Quartet to conclude and I think there are more stories to be told, I would love to see some more from the tribe and I would be happy to read the stories of Tai’s brother and cousin.
Into The Fire is book #55 for #Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.